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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 8 (August 2014) – 45 articles , Pages 4694-5511

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Open AccessArticle
The Cultivation of Electric Vehicles Market in China: Dilemma and Solution
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5493-5511; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085493 - 22 Aug 2014
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4969
Abstract
Global warming has been increasingly concerning, and international society has been taking various measures to mitigate this issue. Since the electric vehicle has important and generally beneficial impacts on environment protection, grid construction, and operation economical efficiency improvement, many countries have stressed the [...] Read more.
Global warming has been increasingly concerning, and international society has been taking various measures to mitigate this issue. Since the electric vehicle has important and generally beneficial impacts on environment protection, grid construction, and operation economical efficiency improvement, many countries have stressed the status of electric vehicle promotion in future planning. As China is the world’s largest carbon dioxide emitter, the Chinese government has taken various acts to reduce emissions, of which promoting electric vehicle is an effective one. This paper attempts to present a critical review of the current EV situations including the market sales, charging infrastructure, battery performances and policies in China. The survey of customer preferences and acceptance to electric vehicle indicate that purchasing behaviors are affected by four factors: charge inconvenience, short battery range, cost and psychological factors. According to the China’s situation, recommendations including diversified energy supplement approaches, time-of-use charging price mechanism, vehicle-to-grid technology and enlarge price subsidy scope are proposed to accelerate the development of the electric vehicle industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Efficiency and Energy Saving Potential in China: A Directional Meta-Frontier DEA Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5476-5492; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085476 - 22 Aug 2014
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 3444
Abstract
Increasing energy efficiency and exploiting energy saving potential are two important practices that can help to ensure future energy security in China. This paper proposes a new total factor energy efficiency indicator, based on the directional meta-frontier data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach, to [...] Read more.
Increasing energy efficiency and exploiting energy saving potential are two important practices that can help to ensure future energy security in China. This paper proposes a new total factor energy efficiency indicator, based on the directional meta-frontier data envelopment analysis (DEA) approach, to account for the heterogeneity of production technology among provinces in China. This indicator considers both energy savings and economic development, and can also decompose the energy saving potential. An empirical research study conducted on 29 Chinese provinces indicates that the differences in energy efficiency and production technology among the Chinese regions are quite significant. Most eastern coastal provinces maintain high-energy efficiency and advanced production technology, while energy efficiency in the west is typically lower. As a rule, improvements in technical and management factors are needed to exploit energy saving potentials. However, the emphasis on these two factors in each province should differ. China’s general energy efficiency is relatively low; the absolute amount of nationwide energy saving potential is on the rise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Goal and Scope in Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis: The Case of Hydrogen Production from Biomass
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5463-5475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085463 - 20 Aug 2014
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 3789
Abstract
The framework for life cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA) developed within the project CALCAS (Co-ordination Action for innovation in Life-Cycle Analysis for Sustainability) is introducing a truly integrated approach for sustainability studies. However, it needs to be further conceptually refined and to be made [...] Read more.
The framework for life cycle sustainability analysis (LCSA) developed within the project CALCAS (Co-ordination Action for innovation in Life-Cycle Analysis for Sustainability) is introducing a truly integrated approach for sustainability studies. However, it needs to be further conceptually refined and to be made operational. In particular, one of the gaps still hindering the adoption of integrated analytic tools for sustainability studies is the lack of a clear link between the goal and scope definition and the modeling phase. This paper presents an approach to structure the goal and scope phase of LCSA so as to identify the relevant mechanisms to be further detailed and analyzed in the modeling phase. The approach is illustrated with an on-going study on a new technology for the production of high purity hydrogen from biomass, to be used in automotive fuel cells. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Energy: the Industrial Ecology perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Thermal-Energy Analysis of Innovative Translucent White Marble for Building Envelope Application
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5439-5462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085439 - 20 Aug 2014
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 3873
Abstract
Marble is a natural material, used in the construction field since antiquity. It has always been used to communicate monumentality and solidity. Nowadays new technologies permit marble to express new languages: particularly, translucent marble technology overturns the concept of solidity. The main issue [...] Read more.
Marble is a natural material, used in the construction field since antiquity. It has always been used to communicate monumentality and solidity. Nowadays new technologies permit marble to express new languages: particularly, translucent marble technology overturns the concept of solidity. The main issue to address is the lack of thermal-energy performance of such a thin stone layer as the only facade component. Conversely, Bianco Carrara and Statuario marbles, for instance, have intrinsic benefits as natural cool materials, due to their high solar reflectance and thermal emissivity. Thus, this paper analyzes the thermal-energy and environmental behavior of marble facade for a new designed building in New York City. An integrated analysis of the energy performance of the marble skin is performed through a preliminary experimental characterization, carried out for two different types of naturally white marble, for comparative purposes. Then, a dynamic simulation model of the building is developed to evaluate year-round benefits and drawbacks of the translucent marble envelope in terms of indoor thermal comfort and air-conditioning requirement. The analysis showed how the proposed marble facade is able to decrease the energy requirement for cooling up to 6%, demonstrating possible relevant perspectives for marble-based facades, even in energy-efficient buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Urban Biophilia: The Case of Greenskins for Urban Density
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5423-5438; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085423 - 19 Aug 2014
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 7016
Abstract
Green infrastructure ameliorates the urban heat island effect, contributes positively to liveability and enables sustainability in higher density urban environments. Greenskins (living architectures) are a more specific form of green infrastructure, including green walls and green roofs, for dense urban areas. These offer [...] Read more.
Green infrastructure ameliorates the urban heat island effect, contributes positively to liveability and enables sustainability in higher density urban environments. Greenskins (living architectures) are a more specific form of green infrastructure, including green walls and green roofs, for dense urban areas. These offer a new approach for sustainable urban biophilia and some forms can be built using the ecological design principles of constructed wetlands. The paper compares findings from two urban centres in warm Mediterranean climates. In general from Adelaide, South Australia and more specifically from university collaborative projects on particular technical and social parameters necessary to sustain Greenskins in dense urban conditions in Fremantle, Western Australia. Results from trials of a prototype greywater Greenskin using vertical constructed wetland cells are reported. Through an experimental investigation of designing living green walls in urban Fremantle, this paper challenges the conventional “triple-bottom-line” approach to sustainable dense urban systems by addressing the greater aesthetic needs of sustainability and its thinking. Here landscape aesthetics looks to the collaborative fields of urban design, environmental engineering and landscape architecture to design new urban biophilic experiences and restorative landscapes for regenerative cultural pleasure, ecological responsibility, environmental stewardship and intellectual gain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Density and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Industrial Pollution Control and Efficient Licensing Processes: The Case of Swedish Regulatory Design
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5401-5422; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085401 - 19 Aug 2014
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2828
Abstract
Industrial pollution accounts for a large proportion of global pollution, and in the European Union, an integrated pollution and prevention approach based on individual performance standards has been implemented to regulate emissions from industrial plants. Crucial for the assessment of the licensing conditions [...] Read more.
Industrial pollution accounts for a large proportion of global pollution, and in the European Union, an integrated pollution and prevention approach based on individual performance standards has been implemented to regulate emissions from industrial plants. Crucial for the assessment of the licensing conditions are the Best Available Technique (BAT) requirements, which should be set in accordance with the recently introduced Industrial Emissions Directive (IED). In this paper, we review and assess the licensing of industrial plants in one of the Member States, namely Sweden. Specifically, we discuss how the existing regulations (including the IED) manage to address potential trade-offs between important regulatory design issues, such as flexibility, predictability and the need to provide continuous incentives for environmental improvements. The analysis indicates that while the EU regulations provide flexibility in terms of the choice of compliance measures, in Sweden, it enters an existing regulatory framework that adds a lot of uncertainty with respect to the outcome of the licensing processes. An important challenge for the implementation of the IED is to implement performance standards that lead to continuous incentives to improve environmental performance in industrial sectors without, at the same time, adding new uncertainties. While standards ideally should be both flexible and predictable, achieving one of these criteria may often come at the expense of the other. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
The Question of Sustainability of Green Electricity Policy Intervention
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5378-5400; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085378 - 19 Aug 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2912
Abstract
In this paper, we analyse the financial viability and economic sustainability implications of government programs for the development of renewable energy sources, explicitly considering that consumers take environmental issues into account. We envisage a broad policy strategy for the future, which we label [...] Read more.
In this paper, we analyse the financial viability and economic sustainability implications of government programs for the development of renewable energy sources, explicitly considering that consumers take environmental issues into account. We envisage a broad policy strategy for the future, which we label the “World Sustainable Scenario”, and we quantify the inter-temporal resource requirement in terms of investment necessary to achieve it. We perform an empirical meta-analysis to quantify the willingness to pay for green electricity worldwide. Subsequently, we compare the amount of resources required according to policy programs and the populations’ willingness to sacrifice current resources for future benefits (i.e., willingness to finance future investments) to assess the plausibility of current policies. The main empirical findings show that the population’s attitude toward green electricity will support, on average, 50% of the total investment required. We conclude that this is a positive result, which will make possible the success of the renewable energy sources development policy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Energy Upgrading of Existing Buildings: Window and Shading Device Typologies for Energy Efficiency Refurbishment
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5354-5377; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085354 - 18 Aug 2014
Cited by 33 | Viewed by 4303
Abstract
Residential buildings built after the Second World War have high energy consumption and inadequate thermal comfort, especially in summer conditions, largely attributable to the high transmittance of windows and lack of effective shading devices. Performance improvement of these components is essential for energy [...] Read more.
Residential buildings built after the Second World War have high energy consumption and inadequate thermal comfort, especially in summer conditions, largely attributable to the high transmittance of windows and lack of effective shading devices. Performance improvement of these components is essential for energy upgrading of existing buildings. This paper shows the results of the research, which aims to evaluate effects on energy consumption and environmental comfort of combined solutions of windows and shading devices applied to a case study representing a typical post World War II Italian building. In this paper, the main typologies of solar control systems are described and evaluated on the basis of a case study in different climatic locations (Berlin, Milan, Florence and Athens). Thermal behavior has been assessed through the EnergyPlus dynamic calculation code, by using appropriate performance indicators for energy and thermal sensation. Starting from performance evaluation of the existing building, different strategies have been assessed: replacement of existing windows with high-energy performance ones and introduction of shading devices and solar control glasses. Finally, a global comparative analysis has been carried out based on energy, acoustic and lighting performances, technical feasibility and management problems. Results of the different solar shading devices assessment are reported in the form of a data sheet. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Building Behavior Simulation by Means of Artificial Neural Network in Summer Conditions
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5339-5353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085339 - 18 Aug 2014
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 3446
Abstract
Many studies in Italy showed that buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption, due to worsening performance of building envelope; in fact, a great number of Italian buildings were built before the 1970s and 80s. In particular, the energy consumptions [...] Read more.
Many studies in Italy showed that buildings are responsible for about 40% of total energy consumption, due to worsening performance of building envelope; in fact, a great number of Italian buildings were built before the 1970s and 80s. In particular, the energy consumptions for cooling are considerably increased with respect to the ones for heating. In order to reduce the cooling energy demand, ensuring indoor thermal comfort, a careful study on building envelope performance is necessary. Different dynamic software could be used in order to evaluate and to improve the building envelope during the cooling period, but much time and an accurate validation of the model are required. However, when a wide experimental data is available, the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) can be an alternative, simple and fast tool to use. In the present study, the indoor thermal conditions in many dwellings built in Umbria Region were investigated in order to evaluate the envelope performance. They were recently built and have very low energy consumptions. Based on the experimental data, a feed forward network was trained, in order to evaluate the different envelopes performance. As input parameters the outdoor climatic conditions and the thermal characteristics of building envelopes were set, while, as a target parameter, the indoor air temperature was provided. A good training of network was obtained with a high regression value (0.9625) and a very small error (0.007 °C) on air temperature. The network was also used to simulate the envelope behavior with new innovative glazing systems, in order to evaluate and to improve the energy performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Tackling Air Pollution in China—What do We Learn from the Great Smog of 1950s in LONDON
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5322-5338; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085322 - 18 Aug 2014
Cited by 41 | Viewed by 11667
Abstract
Since the prolonged, severe smog that blanketed many Chinese cities in first months of 2013, living in smog has become “normal” to most people living in mainland China. This has not only caused serious harm to public health, but also resulted in massive [...] Read more.
Since the prolonged, severe smog that blanketed many Chinese cities in first months of 2013, living in smog has become “normal” to most people living in mainland China. This has not only caused serious harm to public health, but also resulted in massive economic losses in many other ways. Tackling the current air pollution has become crucial to China’s long-term economic and social sustainable development. This paper aims to find the causes of the current severe air quality and explore the possible solutions by reviewing the current literature, and by comparing China’s air pollution regulations to that of the post London Killer Smog of 1952, in the United Kingdom (UK). It is hoped that China will learn the lesson from the UK, and decouple its economic growth from the detrimental impact of environment. Policy suggestions are made. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Two Models for Evaluating the Energy Performance of Different Buildings
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5311-5321; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085311 - 14 Aug 2014
Cited by 34 | Viewed by 2936
Abstract
Nowadays it is possible to employ several software packages to evaluate building’s energy performance, each of them based on a different calculation code, with different boundary conditions in terms of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind velocity and relative humidity. In this contribution, a [...] Read more.
Nowadays it is possible to employ several software packages to evaluate building’s energy performance, each of them based on a different calculation code, with different boundary conditions in terms of environmental temperature, solar radiation, wind velocity and relative humidity. In this contribution, a comparison between two calculation codes, taking into account different types of buildings, has been carried out. In particular, a semi-stationary calculation code and a dynamic one have been employed to determine energy demands of three different building’s types: an old building, a house and a flat. Analyzing semi-stationary conditions (consequently simplified environmental conditions), a software which applies the UNI TS 11300 standard has been considered. This standard defines the procedures for the national implementation of the UNI EN ISO 13790. Furthermore, in order to consider the environmental conditions variation, a well-known dynamic software has been used. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Information Extraction of High-Resolution Remotely Sensed Image Based on Multiresolution Segmentation
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5300-5310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085300 - 14 Aug 2014
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2665
Abstract
The principle of multiresolution segmentation was represented in detail in this study, and the canny algorithm was applied for edge-detection of a remotely sensed image based on this principle. The target image was divided into regions based on object-oriented multiresolution segmentation and edge-detection. [...] Read more.
The principle of multiresolution segmentation was represented in detail in this study, and the canny algorithm was applied for edge-detection of a remotely sensed image based on this principle. The target image was divided into regions based on object-oriented multiresolution segmentation and edge-detection. Furthermore, object hierarchy was created, and a series of features (water bodies, vegetation, roads, residential areas, bare land and other information) were extracted by the spectral and geometrical features. The results indicate that the edge-detection has a positive effect on multiresolution segmentation, and overall accuracy of information extraction reaches to 94.6% by the confusion matrix. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borderland Studies and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Border Policies in Dehong Prefecture of Yunnan, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5284-5299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085284 - 13 Aug 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2621
Abstract
With the process of globalization, many political geographers and research institutions have begun to focus on borders and border areas. Faced with the current debate on the border policies, this paper reviews the former research relating to border studies and provides an evaluation [...] Read more.
With the process of globalization, many political geographers and research institutions have begun to focus on borders and border areas. Faced with the current debate on the border policies, this paper reviews the former research relating to border studies and provides an evaluation of China’s border policies. The literatures on border effects reveal that national boundaries have a significant impact on the economic, social and cultural relations of both border regions. Because of these effects, each country has to adjust its border policies in different periods. In this paper, a perspective is provided for evaluating the effectiveness of China’s border policy based on the Kaldor-Hicks analysis method. We investigated the border policies in Dehong Autonomous Prefecture in Yunnan province of China from 1949 to 2012, and evaluated the effectiveness of the border policy using the Kaldor-Hicks method. The conclusions include: first, the Kaldor-Hicks method can be seen as effective method to evaluate the effectiveness of China’s border policies. Second, based on the Kaldor-Hicks method, we observe the overall effects of the adjustments made to the border policies in Dehong Prefecture were positive. However, sometimes the border trade policy is good for the country as a whole, but not necessarily for Dehong Prefecture. For the sake of the whole country, adjustments in border trade policy need to be compensated by financial transfer payments. In addition, the combined effects of the cross-border marriages policy are not immediately obvious. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Borderland Studies and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Alternative Testing Methods for Predicting Health Risk from Environmental Exposures
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5265-5283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085265 - 13 Aug 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2999
Abstract
Alternative methods to animal testing are considered as promising tools to support the prediction of toxicological risks from environmental exposure. Among the alternative testing methods, the cell transformation assay (CTA) appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches to predict the carcinogenic [...] Read more.
Alternative methods to animal testing are considered as promising tools to support the prediction of toxicological risks from environmental exposure. Among the alternative testing methods, the cell transformation assay (CTA) appears to be one of the most appropriate approaches to predict the carcinogenic properties of single chemicals, complex mixtures and environmental pollutants. The BALB/c 3T3 CTA shows a good degree of concordance with the in vivo rodent carcinogenesis tests. Whole-genome transcriptomic profiling is performed to identify genes that are transcriptionally regulated by different kinds of exposures. Its use in cell models representative of target organs may help in understanding the mode of action and predicting the risk for human health. Aiming at associating the environmental exposure to health-adverse outcomes, we used an integrated approach including the 3T3 CTA and transcriptomics on target cells, in order to evaluate the effects of airborne particulate matter (PM) on toxicological complex endpoints. Organic extracts obtained from PM2.5 and PM1 samples were evaluated in the 3T3 CTA in order to identify effects possibly associated with different aerodynamic diameters or airborne chemical components. The effects of the PM2.5 extracts on human health were assessed by using whole-genome 44 K oligo-microarray slides. Statistical analysis by GeneSpring GX identified genes whose expression was modulated in response to the cell treatment. Then, modulated genes were associated with pathways, biological processes and diseases through an extensive biological analysis. Data derived from in vitro methods and omics techniques could be valuable for monitoring the exposure to toxicants, understanding the modes of action via exposure-associated gene expression patterns and to highlight the role of genes in key events related to adversity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cellulose Nanocrystals Obtained from Cynara Cardunculus and Their Application in the Paper Industry
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5252-5264; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085252 - 13 Aug 2014
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 3107
Abstract
Biorefinery aims at designing new virtuous and high-efficiency energy chains, achieving the combined production of biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) and biobased products. This emerging philosophy can represent an important opportunity for the industrial world, exploiting a new kind of nano-smart biomaterials in their production [...] Read more.
Biorefinery aims at designing new virtuous and high-efficiency energy chains, achieving the combined production of biofuels (e.g., bioethanol) and biobased products. This emerging philosophy can represent an important opportunity for the industrial world, exploiting a new kind of nano-smart biomaterials in their production chains. This paper will present the lab experience carried out by the Biomass Research Centre (CRB) in extracting cellulose nanocrystals (NCC) from a pretreated (via Steam Explosion) fraction of Cynara cardunculus. This is a very common and invasive arboreal variety in central Italy. The NCC extraction methodology allows the separation of the crystalline content of cellulose. Such a procedure has been considered in the literature with the exception of one step in which the conditions have been optimized by CRB Lab. This procedure has been applied for the production of NCC from both Cynara cardunculus and microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The paper will discuss some of the results achieved using the obtained nanocrystals as reinforcing filler in a paper sheet; it was found that the tensile strength increased from 3.69 kg/15 mm to 3.98 kg/15 mm, the durability behavior (measured by bending number) changed from the value 95 to the value 141, and the barrier properties (measured by Gurley porosity) were improved, increasing from 38 s to 45 s. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Dynamic Coordinated Development of a Regional Environment-Tourism-Economy System: A Case Study from Western Hunan Province, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5231-5251; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085231 - 13 Aug 2014
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 3314
Abstract
Based on regional coordination theory and system theory, the authors constructed an evaluation index system for the coordinated development of a regional environment-tourism-economy system with a pressure-state-response (PSR) model. With a coordinated development model, it further empirically analyzed the coordinated development state of [...] Read more.
Based on regional coordination theory and system theory, the authors constructed an evaluation index system for the coordinated development of a regional environment-tourism-economy system with a pressure-state-response (PSR) model. With a coordinated development model, it further empirically analyzed the coordinated development state of an environment-tourism-economy system in western Hunan from 2001 to 2012. The results showed that, although this environment-tourism-economy system failed to achieve a high benefit index, inter-subsystem coupling extent, and coordinated development index, the three indices presented an increasing overall trend. This outcome suggested that the sub-systems in this system were developing towards their optimal proportions: the development of these sub-systems (environmental, tourism, and economic) was unbalanced in western Hunan. The environment therein sees only slow development although provided with a favorable ecological foundation. Economic development, which has long been lagging, acted as the main factor restricting the coordinated development of a regional environment-tourism-economy system. To promote its coordinated development in western Hunan, the following recommendations were proposed: strengthen the prediction and warnings on the evolution of the whole system; optimize the industry’s structure; reinforce environmental management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Emergy Synthesis and Regional Sustainability Assessment: Case Study of Pan-Pearl River Delta in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5203-5230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085203 - 12 Aug 2014
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4371
Abstract
In this paper, emergy analysis is used in association with the ternary diagrams and geographic information system (GIS) tools to improve the evaluation of sustainability for the Pan-Pearl River Delta (PPRD) region. Emergy accounting of PPRD is estimated, and various emergy-based indicators are [...] Read more.
In this paper, emergy analysis is used in association with the ternary diagrams and geographic information system (GIS) tools to improve the evaluation of sustainability for the Pan-Pearl River Delta (PPRD) region. Emergy accounting of PPRD is estimated, and various emergy-based indicators are reported. Ternary diagrams are drawn to provide a graphical representation of the emergy accounting data. Finally, the GIS tools are employed to assist in the emergy-based spatial analysis, and emergy density based on flat land area is mapped to reflect the intensity of emergy use in human activity areas. Results show the following: (1) the current development path of the PPRD region, with the value of emergy sustainability index (ESI = 0.227) significantly lower than one, is unsustainable in the long run; (2) Guangdong has the lowest ESI value (0.071), and the ESI values of Fujian, Guangxi, Hunan and Jiangxi are lower than 0.5, indicating that the economy in these provinces overly relies on non-renewable and imported resources; (3) Guizhou has a high emergy yield rate and is thus the main energy supplier in PPRD; and (4) among the nine provinces in PPRD, only Hainan has an ESI value (2.145) higher than one. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Sustainable Living in Africa: Case of Water, Sanitation, Air Pollution and Energy
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5187-5202; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085187 - 12 Aug 2014
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 4532
Abstract
The study reviewed developmental challenges confronting African countries with specific reference to the availability of potable water, sanitation, energy, water and ambient air. It showed the conflict between the need to exploit environmental capital in order to keep up with the pace of [...] Read more.
The study reviewed developmental challenges confronting African countries with specific reference to the availability of potable water, sanitation, energy, water and ambient air. It showed the conflict between the need to exploit environmental capital in order to keep up with the pace of human development activities and the need to utilize resources sustainably. Hitherto, the cost of this development has been at the expense of public health and cleaner environment. The outcome demonstrates the need for a change of approach in the way and manner that environmental resources are exploited for developmental purposes. Two concepts for addressing these problems were discussed. These are the “soft path” approach and the trialog model. The former places high priority on the proper use and management of existing infrastructure or resources rather than acquisition or exploitation of more infrastructure or resources. The latter concept addresses the principle of resource governance through the application of an understanding of the complex relationship between the main stakeholders—government, science, and society. Case studies on the practicality of these concepts were also highlighted and discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Forest Policy and Law for Sustainability within the Korean Peninsula
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5162-5186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085162 - 12 Aug 2014
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 4328
Abstract
Since the early 1990s, sustainable forest management (SFM) has emerged as a paradigm of forest management on global, regional and national levels. In developing countries, avoiding deforestation is a preliminary step towards SFM. The Korean peninsula experienced severe deforestation and forest degradation after [...] Read more.
Since the early 1990s, sustainable forest management (SFM) has emerged as a paradigm of forest management on global, regional and national levels. In developing countries, avoiding deforestation is a preliminary step towards SFM. The Korean peninsula experienced severe deforestation and forest degradation after the Korean War (1950–1953). In the 1970s and 1980s, South Korea achieved forest restoration through the National Greening Program. In contrast, North Korea failed to restore forests in spite of continuous trials with forest restoration plans. In North Korea, deforestation has accelerated since the mid-1980s. Deforestation and forest degradation in North Korea threatens stability throughout the Korean peninsula. This study focuses on comparing the forest policy and laws of South Korea and North Korea and suggesting forest policy that promotes sustainability in the Korean peninsula. The research findings can provide developing countries with significant information on forest policy and laws to avoid deforestation and forest degradation and move towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Urbanization, Economic Development and Environmental Change
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5143-5161; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085143 - 11 Aug 2014
Cited by 31 | Viewed by 4510
Abstract
This paper applies the pressure-state-response (PSR) model to establish environmental quality indices for 30 administrative regions in China from 2003 to 2011 and employs panel data analysis to study the relationships among the urbanization rate, economic development and environmental change. The results reveal [...] Read more.
This paper applies the pressure-state-response (PSR) model to establish environmental quality indices for 30 administrative regions in China from 2003 to 2011 and employs panel data analysis to study the relationships among the urbanization rate, economic development and environmental change. The results reveal a remarkable inverted-U-shaped relationship between the urbanization rate and changes in regional environmental quality; the “turning point” generally appears near an urbanization rate of 60%. In addition, the degree and mode of economic development have significant, but anisotropic effects on the regional environment. Generally, at a higher degree of economic development, the environment will tend to improve, but an extensive economic growth program that simply aims to increase GDP has a clear negative impact on the environment. Overall, the results of this paper not only further confirm the “environmental Kuznets curve hypothesis”, but also expand it in a manner. The analysis in this paper implies that the inverted-U-shaped evolving relationship between environmental quality and economic growth (urbanization) is universally applicable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Progressive Product Innovation on Key Environmental Indicators: Pampers® Baby Wipes from 2007–2013
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5129-5142; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085129 - 11 Aug 2014
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 4976
Abstract
Companies are increasingly conducting life cycle assessments (LCA) of their products to understand potential product impacts on the environment, prioritize areas of innovation to create more sustainable products, and determine valid claims. This case study shows the results of product innovation by comparing [...] Read more.
Companies are increasingly conducting life cycle assessments (LCA) of their products to understand potential product impacts on the environment, prioritize areas of innovation to create more sustainable products, and determine valid claims. This case study shows the results of product innovation by comparing an older (2007) and new (2013) version of a common hygiene product in Europe and the U.S. The standard methodology follows the ISO 14040/44 Guidelines for LCA. Results are reported for the impact indicators with high relevance for the product category: primary energy, global warming, particulates, agricultural land occupation, fossil fuel depletion, and solid waste generation. Generally, raw material supply chains for product and packaging contribute most (up to 82%) to the calculated environmental impact indicators. Improvements vs. the 2007 baby wipe range between 4% and 14% in Europe and between 15% and 36% in the U.S. The improvement is driven by a new substrate technology that provides more surface area for cleaning, which results in lower use of resources. This case study illustrates three key environmental drivers behind this innovation: the corporate focus on R&D capability to design for environmentally improved products, the increased interest from retailers and consumers requiring accurate and relevant information on the performance and sustainability of products, and the company’s interest in deeper technical understanding of contributions from upstream material and process innovations on a product’s environmental profile. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Enhancing the Effectiveness of Cycle Time Estimation in Wafer Fabrication-Efficient Methodology and Managerial Implications
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5107-5128; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085107 - 11 Aug 2014
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2489
Abstract
Cycle time management plays an important role in improving the performance of a wafer fabrication factory. It starts from the estimation of the cycle time of each job in the wafer fabrication factory. Although this topic has been widely investigated, several issues still [...] Read more.
Cycle time management plays an important role in improving the performance of a wafer fabrication factory. It starts from the estimation of the cycle time of each job in the wafer fabrication factory. Although this topic has been widely investigated, several issues still need to be addressed, such as how to classify jobs suitable for the same estimation mechanism into the same group. In contrast, in most existing methods, jobs are classified according to their attributes. However, the differences between the attributes of two jobs may not be reflected on their cycle times. The bi-objective nature of classification and regression tree (CART) makes it especially suitable for tackling this problem. However, in CART, the cycle times of jobs of a branch are estimated with the same value, which is far from accurate. For these reason, this study proposes a joint use of principal component analysis (PCA), CART, and back propagation network (BPN), in which PCA is applied to construct a series of linear combinations of original variables to form new variables that are as unrelated to each other as possible. According to the new variables, jobs are classified using CART before estimating their cycle times with BPNs. A real case was used to evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed methodology. The experimental results supported the superiority of the proposed methodology over some existing methods. In addition, the managerial implications of the proposed methodology are also discussed with an example. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Semiconductor Manufacturing)
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Open AccessArticle
Challenges for Sustainable Development and Its Legal Response in China: A Perspective for Social Transformation
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5075-5106; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085075 - 11 Aug 2014
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2740
Abstract
With rapid development since the 1970s, China is entering a period of social transformation, which not only creates favorable conditions for sustainable development but also presents new challenges. The transitional period in China is a stage in which two types of social transformation [...] Read more.
With rapid development since the 1970s, China is entering a period of social transformation, which not only creates favorable conditions for sustainable development but also presents new challenges. The transitional period in China is a stage in which two types of social transformation coexist, the first is the social transformation from agricultural society to industrial society; the second is the transition from industrial society to postindustrial society. In this process of social transformation, new challenges arise for sustainable development in China. In the first layer of social transformation, we respond to the challenges presented by the social transformation through the establishment of basic principles of environmental law, legal enforcement mechanisms, basic legal regimes and so on. In the second layer of social transformation, the advent of a risk society raised new challenges to environmental law, including that of adjusting the function of environmental law, strengthening the precautionary principle, diversification of implementation mechanisms, and development of the preventive function of legal regimes. In order to better respond to these challenges, we should proceed with the following aspects: improve the legal functions of environmental law, including guaranteeing public security, ecological security and the coordination of multiple interests; expand and develop the content of the principle of prevention, and replace the polluter pays principle by the causer responsibility principle; combine administrative measures with economic incentives, and while setting government as the main executive body, effectively operate public participation mechanisms; expand the scope of environmental impact assessment of projects, and establish planning environmental impact assessment, build up and improve information disclosure system, and establish environmental risk assessment system and green tax system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Potential for Producing Biogas from Agricultural Waste in Rural Plants in Poland
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5065-5074; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085065 - 08 Aug 2014
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3022
Abstract
This article is an overview of the current situation as well as future prospects for biogas production in rural plants in Poland. Our research has focused on the management of agricultural waste. While Poland’s agriculture and its local food industry have substantial potential, [...] Read more.
This article is an overview of the current situation as well as future prospects for biogas production in rural plants in Poland. Our research has focused on the management of agricultural waste. While Poland’s agriculture and its local food industry have substantial potential, many barriers persist to the development not only of biogas plants but also in every other renewable source of energy. The main obstacles have to do with politically motivated economic factors. Our interest has been in larger plants having sufficient capacities to produce in excess of 500 kW of electricity. The paper also presents a case study of a biogas plant supply by organic, agrifood waste mixed with silage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Energy: the Industrial Ecology perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Security Individual Accounts in China: Toward Sustainability in Individual Account Financing
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5049-5064; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085049 - 07 Aug 2014
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2711
Abstract
China has both mandatory and voluntary individual account pensions that are provided through the government. The experience of China makes a particularly interesting case study concerning the functioning of individual accounts in that its mandatory individual accounts have been defunded to pay for [...] Read more.
China has both mandatory and voluntary individual account pensions that are provided through the government. The experience of China makes a particularly interesting case study concerning the functioning of individual accounts in that its mandatory individual accounts have been defunded to pay for benefits in the associated pay-as-you-go system, while its voluntary individual accounts are fully funded. This paper examines three questions. First, it analyses why the mandatory individual accounts have become defunded and converted largely to notional accounts generally holding little in financial assets, while the voluntary accounts have been fully funded. Second, it examines the merits of funding versus pay-as-you-go financing of pensions in the context of China’s economic and demographic situation. Third, it discusses a policy change to insure the sustainability of financing for the defunded individual accounts. The experience of China, with its two types of individual accounts, and with different outcomes for those accounts, may provide lessons for other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
A Referential Methodology for Education on Sustainable Tourism Development
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5029-5048; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085029 - 07 Aug 2014
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3727
Abstract
Sustainable tourism has the potential of contributing to local development while protecting the natural environment and preserving cultural heritage. Implementation of this form of tourism requires human resources that can assume effective leadership in sustainable development. The purpose of the international student program, [...] Read more.
Sustainable tourism has the potential of contributing to local development while protecting the natural environment and preserving cultural heritage. Implementation of this form of tourism requires human resources that can assume effective leadership in sustainable development. The purpose of the international student program, described in this paper, was to develop and implement an educational methodology to fulfill this need. The study, which was developed and applied by two universities, took place in August 2013, in the study setting of Kastamonu, Turkey. The effectiveness of the program was measured by pre- and post-surveys using the Global Citizenship Scale developed by Morais and Ogden. The findings document a change in intercultural communication, global knowledge and political voice dimensions of the scale. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Considerations When Applying Simplified LCA Approaches in the Wine Sector
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 5018-5028; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6085018 - 06 Aug 2014
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2756
Abstract
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been increasingly used to improve the environmental performance of food systems and simplification of LCA appears to be a vital question, especially for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Following a literature review on simplified LCA tools and their [...] Read more.
Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) has been increasingly used to improve the environmental performance of food systems and simplification of LCA appears to be a vital question, especially for Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Following a literature review on simplified LCA tools and their subsequent ranking, some of the best-rated tools were implemented and the results were examined in parallel to those of a full LCA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Energy: the Industrial Ecology perspective)
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Open AccessArticle
Personal Norms of Sustainability and Farm Management Behavior
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4990-5017; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6084990 - 06 Aug 2014
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 3129
Abstract
We empirically study personal norms of sustainability, conceptualized according to the norm-activation theory and operationalized under the notion of strong ecological-economic sustainability. Our case study is commercial cattle farming in semi-arid rangelands of Namibia, a system that is subject to extensive degradation. Using [...] Read more.
We empirically study personal norms of sustainability, conceptualized according to the norm-activation theory and operationalized under the notion of strong ecological-economic sustainability. Our case study is commercial cattle farming in semi-arid rangelands of Namibia, a system that is subject to extensive degradation. Using survey data, we characterize farmers’ personal ecosystems and income norms, study their determinants, and analyze their impact on actual management based on the dual-preferences model. We find that ecosystem and income norms are heterogeneous across farmers and independent from each other. Furthermore, farmers with better environmental and financial farm conditions have more demanding norms. We find no evidence for a significant impact of norms on actual management, which provides an explanation for the observed degradation of the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Strategy for Utilizing Rice Forage Production Using a No-Tillage System to Enhance the Self-Sufficient Feed Ratio of Small Scale Dairy Farming in Japan
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4975-4989; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6084975 - 06 Aug 2014
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3133
Abstract
Rice forage systems can increase the land use efficiency in paddy fields, improve the self-sufficient feed ratio, and provide environmental benefits for agro-ecosystems. This system often decreased economic benefits compared with those through imported commercial forage feed, particularly in Japan. We observed the [...] Read more.
Rice forage systems can increase the land use efficiency in paddy fields, improve the self-sufficient feed ratio, and provide environmental benefits for agro-ecosystems. This system often decreased economic benefits compared with those through imported commercial forage feed, particularly in Japan. We observed the productivities of winter forage after rice harvest between conventional tillage (CT) and no-tillage (NT) in a field experiment. An on-farm evaluation was performed to determine the self-sufficient ratio of feed and forage production costs based on farm evaluation of the dairy farmer and the rice grower, who adopted a rice forage system. The field experiment detected no significant difference in forage production and quality between CT and NT after rice harvest. However, the production cost was dramatically decreased by 28.1% in NT compared with CT. The self-sufficient ratio was 5.4% higher when dairy farmers adopted the rice forage system compared with those using the current management system. Therefore, this study demonstrated the positive benefits for dairy farmers and rice growers in Japan when adopting a rice forage system with NT, which could improve the self-sufficient feed ratio and reduce production costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Requirement of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Production
Sustainability 2014, 6(8), 4966-4974; https://doi.org/10.3390/su6084966 - 05 Aug 2014
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 3153
Abstract
The scope of this chapter is to calculate the net energy of the production chain for virgin olive oil. Therefore, the determination was carried out for the direct and indirect energy inputs and the energy present as feedstock in the outputs (products and [...] Read more.
The scope of this chapter is to calculate the net energy of the production chain for virgin olive oil. Therefore, the determination was carried out for the direct and indirect energy inputs and the energy present as feedstock in the outputs (products and by-products). To perform this analysis, all of the production processes for olives and for oil extraction were studied. For the agricultural phase, three systems of cultivation were taken into consideration: the centenary olive grove (COO), the “intensive” olive grove (HDO) and, the more recently introduced, “super-intensive” olive grove (HSDO). The last two models are distinguished by the high number of trees per hectare and by an intense mechanization of agricultural practices. Regarding the oil extraction phase, four different technologies were compared: the pressure system (PS), the two-phase system (2PS), the three-phase (3PS), and the system, called “de-pitted”, which provides for the separation of the pits before the oil is extracted (DPS). The analysis showed that the production of olives needs more than 90% of energy requirements, much of which is met by non-renewable sources of energy. The production of fertilizers, and also irrigation, are the production factors that require a considerable amount of energy. Among the three agricultural systems analyzed, the COO system of cultivation is the one that requires less energy as compared to the other systems. The scenario that enables the most energy return, however, is the SHDO system of cultivation, due to the greater amount of pruning residues that can be obtained. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment and Energy: the Industrial Ecology perspective)
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